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Thread: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    I'm sure this has been answered before but I don't like hijacking others threads not how I roll anyways I will be converting an old kitchen into a darkroom I have to raise the ceilings to fit the enlarger in which is a Super Chromega F II 8x10 with a base board is the following size 40"x60"(rough estimate on its size) this is the pro model vertical enlarger with color head so I can dial in the contrast for b/w printing only! I believe the head is actually a 10x10 my ideal plan once the property is purchased is to just tear it all down and rebuild a nice house instead of the triplex it now sits on but funds just are not there at the moment! Plus build myself the ultimate darkroom once the property is there I will be printing 8x10 and 5x7 negatives! I do have a designated enlarger for 4x5 and smaller which will need to be in the same darkroom. I know it might be crazy but I'm planning on having both wet and dry side so I can process sheet film up to 8x10 maybe in the future up to 12x20 for Alternative Processes!

    If some of you who have done this before I appreciate any insight and advice!

    If things go the way that I want I'm hoping to rent out the darkroom out once in a while just to let others have access to make some nice prints and large prints I think I might have the sink specially made out of acrylic like the gravity works print washers are made of but I might be wrong on the material! Since there is a local place to have stuff like that done at!

    I'm slowly buying used gear to save me money!

    I might sound crazy but everything has been good lately and I really need an actual darkroom to really start printing!

    Thanks again Brian

    No I'm not crazy just a huge dreamer!

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    Look at the Darkroom Portraits thread and carefully study the photos for ideas.
    Build the largest sink you can, in this case 10.1 feet, ideally 30 inches front to back, keeping in mind that it might be hard to reach the wall if you are short.
    As many grounded electrical outlets as you can must, above counter height, below counter height, and on the ceiling.
    Drywall the walls and ceiling (i.e. no exposed framing) and paint with glossy paint for low dust, easy cleanup.
    A dust free floor like sheet vinyl (no carpet).
    No flourescent lighting as it might maintain an afterglow when turned off. Use lots of lighting - I like a bright darkroom - but set it up so that you have a choice between bright light, modest light, safe light.
    A large dry erase board (grease board) on the wall is useful for notes.
    Plenty of shelf space for storage
    Build dust free negative drying space.
    I find that line drying prints works for me (better than screens) but they drip water so you need a place where print drying allows you to continue printing.
    Try to anticipate yourself. For example, if you get into masking you need more space. Alternative processes (I don't do those) are probably the same.
    Use another room for matting and framing. A dry mount press can really heat up a darkroom. Cutting mat board is dusty.

  3. #3

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    May 2012
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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    @Jerold thanks for the info since this was once a kitchen I'm thinking of making a 10 ft x 44" sink as my wet area and have a separate dry area plus have the sink divided into Dev/Stop/Fixer/Wash/Toning in that order I think If I have enough room for a first water bath because I want it to be setup already in advanced for mural size prints which will be at least 40"x60" prints not printing that big right away but I want the option to already be in play! The mounting station will be in another room/studio area with plenty of storage for everything!

  4. #4
    ROL's Avatar
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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    Quote Originally Posted by SLVRGLTN View Post
    ...just a huge dreamer!
    ...the salient quote for me.

    There's nothing that has not already been posted that your general inquisition and basic wet side/dry side plans could not benefit from. Searching here and googling and studying what others have already done is not hijacking threads. Entire books and articles have already been written to help you. I'd like to see just how you are going to process 40x60 prints in a sink and space that size. I'm not saying it can't be done, but you sure as heck better have your equipment and methods worked out – and in no way could I conceive of renting out such a tiny facility to do such large prints. FWIW, my sink is 34" x 20' (nearly twice as large as your dream), and the largest GSP that I normally print is only 30x40. Good luck with your dreams.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 1999
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    549

    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    Just to add to Jerold`s advice the need of proper ventilation if you don`t want to get poisoned with the fumes. You know hours in the darkroom run soooo fast, so I`d first build the extractor system.
    Personally, I like to have two sinks, a small stainless one (plastic is right, too) with good drainage for fast and clean disposal of chemicals, mixing concentrates, film processes, etc. and a big second one (plywood) mainly for the trays and the washing stage.
    I use to encourage everybody to start hygienic procedures from the first day; adjust your new darkroom to accomplish this procedures with easy. I now regret not to have been trained in this healthy procedures when I started in my father`s darkroom more than forty years ago.

  6. #6

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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    Agreed, I'm building a small darkroom in my garage to house 3 enlargers; Durst SM-183, LPL 4x5 & Leitz Valloy II. Just roughed in the electrical; I'm planning on two ceiling mounted exhaust fans directly over the sink, exhausting into a small fur down space with an exterior opening at one end. Plumbing happens next week, with an Elkay Chiller and Intellifaucet control valve to install, then the walls get finished. I'll post some shots once it's all finished. It's my third darkroom design, and although I'd like it to be larger; the space is just not there, so I'll make due with what I have!

  7. #7

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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    @luis I would love to see what you have done once it's finished

    I do appreciate everyone's advice and I realize the darkroom seems small but I have the ability to completely redo the space into a much bigger darkroom most of the work will be done by myself I just don't mess with electrical or plumbing but I will be getting a few books in the next few weeks to help me design how I want it to be. I think the sink alone will be hand built to accommodate trays up to 30x40 and have the ability to make larger prints in the same sink without trays! I know it can be done!

  8. #8

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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    Photographer's Formulary took their inexpensive, easy-to-make from plywood and 2x6s sinks to the local place that sprays pickup beds and had them spray them. Nubbly black surface, dries in a day, relatively inexpensive, impermeable enough. I'm about to build a house and will do that in my new darkroom.
    Bruce Barlow
    author of "Finely Focused" and "Exercises in Photographic Composition"
    www.brucewbarlow.com

  9. #9

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    Bath, Ohio 44210 USA
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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    [QUOTE=Luis-F-S;1070680].... I'm planning on two ceiling mounted exhaust fans directly over the sink, exhausting into a small fur down space with an exterior opening at one end. ....QUOTE]

    If I understand you correctly, there is a risk to this. If you stand in front of the sink, the fumes come out of the trays in front of you and rise into your nose before exhausting out the ceiling fan. My approach was to have two exhaust fans in the ceiling exiting outside through the wall. The fans are connected to 4 inch PVC pipes which drop to the side of the sink opposite me just above tray height. I also used a filtered input fan across the room. You can't exhaust without having input. I use a furnace filter on the input to reduce dust. The fresh air circulates around me, crosses the sink and trays, goes into the exhaust pipes on the edge of the sink opposite me, then up to the exhaust fans through the PVC pipe.

    Years ago Kodak said in their darkroom book that your fans should change the air six times an hour. I prefer much more, but I have chemical allergies.

    Panasonic makes "whisper fans" that go between the rafters and are much quieter than most exhaust fans. They cost a little more, but I HATE the rattle of most bathroom exhaust fans.

    John

  10. #10

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    Re: Darkroom Design for a 9.8ft x 10.1ft room

    I know what you mean, but I have no allergies, and frankly at 60, I'm sure I'll get run over by a bus before the fumes can do any damage. I don't have room to exhaust behind the sink, so up is the only reasonable option. The fans will be about 4' above and to the back of the sink. I bought 2 Doran 12" x 12" exhaust fans from B&H; I have two filtered inlet ports as well as the filtered A/C duct at the other end of the room. The fans are 400 CFM and since the room is only 7' x 11.5' it comes out to an air change every minute or so. My last darkroom was a bit larger and I only had one 12x12 fan mounted 6' above the since and did not have any issues with it. I'm not suggesting anyone else to do this, but that's what I'm doing.

    Luis, P.E.

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